Hi, I’m a BCBA, and I work in the early intervention program. Today, I’m going to be talking about teaching your child to request.
What is Mand Training
Most of our EI kids who have been diagnosed with autism do not have a way of communicating effectively. So what they do then is that they resort to something inappropriate, but it’s effective for them because the parents have reinforced that behavior. So to help our children get their needs met, we teach them how to communicate or request appropriately. And in ABA, we call that manding.
How to Get Your Child to Request
So for children who are grabbing items or toys that they don’t know how to point, as a parent, that’s the first thing that you’re going to be teaching them. So you can give them a full physical prompting to point to the item and how it looks like is that when the child is trying to grab an item, do a hand over hand on your child’s hand to prompt him to point to an item.
Once he starts pointing to that item, immediately give that item, that means like you’re reinforcing that appropriate behavior. It is important to know that you have to do that mand training, the practice of it.
Prompt Often to Reinforce Behavior
You have to give them multiple opportunities per day so that they can master it in no time. For our kiddos who know how to imitate or have some vocal language, you always have to remember that they might not have the word for that item itself. As a parent, you’re going to prompt your child by providing the child the verbal prompt. For example, if your child wants cookie and he doesn’t know what it’s called. So you say cookie, and when the child says cookie, immediately reinforce that behavior by giving him that item.
Again, it is important to give the child multiple opportunities so that he can have a lot of practice for mand training. As a parent, you have to remember that your children can be prompt dependent. So as soon as your child is spontaneously imitating you, try to fade out the prompt so that they will be requesting independently in the future. Thank you.